New supply chain research headlines latest Observatory Quarterly Economic Briefing

Date posted: April 28, 2021
a screen showing various data

Trade dependency is a significant supply chain vulnerability for Midlands businesses, according to the latest research shared for the first time at the Midlands Engine Observatory Quarterly Economic Briefing.

The Midlands exports more than 50% of goods produced to the EU, which also accounts for more than 40% of imports into our region.

The research, presented by Professor Janet Godsell from the Warwick Manufacturing Group, reviewed Midlands supply chains at both regional and company-level and suggests that an increase in reshoring and using more local supply chains could help to address this dependency.

Our region’s firms also face a shortage of highly skilled workers, highlighting the need for further upskilling and development of training programmes.

The Briefing, the latest in a series, was led by the Midlands Engine Observatory which provides comprehensive and contemporary data, analysis and intelligence on the whole of the Midlands economy in order to inform regional and national level policy and projects.

Attendees at the Briefing were also the first to view research into how some of our region’s businesses were able to overcome Covid-19-related supply difficulties as Professor Charbel Jose Chiappetta Jabbour and his team from the University of Lincoln presented their findings.

These two research projects make up a suite of research commissioned by the Observatory in recent months with additional projects focusing on threats to supply chains by Professor Alex de Ruyter from Birmingham City University and work by Dr Thornsten Kampmann of The Manufacturing Technology Centre entitled A Transformational Roadmap for Supply Chains.

Following the presentations, a roundtable discussion featuring the leads from five research projects commissioned by the Observatory along with Charlotte Horobin from Make UK and Dr. Andrew Mair, Chief Executive Midlands Aerospace Alliance, also took place.

Director of the Midlands Engine Observatory, Professor Delma Dwight said:

Research into how some firms have proved extraordinarily resilient is invaluable as we provide policy makers from across the region the insight to help guide our economic recovery from the pandemic.

My thanks to Professor Godsell and Professor Chiappetta Jabbour and their teams for their presentations today as well as Dr Thorsten Kampmann and Professor Alex de Ruyter for their stirling contributions to our work.

The next Quarterly Economic Briefing will be held in late summer. If you are interested in attending please email

For the latest on our region, subscribe to Midlands Matters, the official newsletter of the Midlands Engine.

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